A Greenpeace vessel with 4 crew aboard deliberately rammed the French entry for the America’s Cup on May 18, during christening ceremonies in Lorient, France. Damage to Le Defi, the team’s International America’s Cup class sloop, included de-lamination in a structurally sensitive part of the boat, the chainplates. “The worst happened yesterday (Saturday) when, just before taking FRA69 for an inaugural sail,” said Sebastien Destremau, skipper of FRA69. “Greenpeace protestors came back to the base. The police and our tenders were acting as guard boats to protect FRA69 but the Greenpeace boats were smaller and could turn much quicker than ours. We were trying everything we could to protect FRA69 but suddenly, one of their motor boats took off, went full speed, and crashed into FRA69 causing serious damage to the structure of the boat.”
Greenpeace has targeted the French challengers for the America’s Cup because a major portion of sponsorship–up to $30 million–for the syndicate has come from Areva, a company that is owned by the French Atomic Energy Commission and manages all the nuclear power plants in France.
In first place on leg 1 of the Rubicon Regatta was Sill Plein Fruit skippered by Roland Jourdain, winner of last November’s Transat Jacques Vabre. The inaugural Regata Rubicon, which runs from St Nazaire in France, with the first leg taking competitors to Lanzarote in the Canaries, followed by a 1500-mile leg pour to St. Margherita/Ligure, a port near Genoa on the Mediterranean. The event is sailed in Open 60s.
Ellen MacArthur, showing that a long session ashore hasn’t dulled her skills, took second place by two hours despite struggling with technical and equipment problems. “The team have been fantastic, we’ve worked really well together and even when the position reports have lowered moral, we’ve bounced back each time, said MacArthur. “You have to believe that anything can happen, and just never give up. Kingfisher is lighter and faster than before, and although we’ve had a few technical issues on this leg, we’ve learnt a lot, and I’m really confident in our ability for the big one – the Route du Rhum solo race in November.”
Nick Moloney, Ellen’s teammate from Offshore Challenges, fresh off the Jules Verne record-setter Orange, will take over skipper duties for the next leg.
Bruce Schwab and his Open 60 _ Ocean Planet_are in Charleston, South Carolina at Teddy Turner’s Charleston Boat Works. “Aside from us there are two other entries, Brad Van Liew’s Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America and Tim Kent’s Everest Horizontal just boat lengths away, said Schwab in a press release. “It’s great fun to be around these great guys and boats, but the atmosphere is pretty serious most of the time with the impending deadlines looming. We’re all in the same boat, no pun intended, with more to do than is possible in the time we have.”
The deadline for Schwab is two-fold. Not only does he have to sail his transatlantic qualifying leg, he must also raise another twenty thousand dollars in order to receive a matching grant from a group of contributors.
Brian Lambert and Jamie Livingston, sailed their 20-foot cat_ Alexander’s On The Bay_ to a second win in as many years in the Worrell 1000, holding off a dedicated attack from Steve Lohmayer and Kenny Pierce, sailing Tybee Island, who finished second. Team Alexander’s on the Bay set a new overall race time record of 71h:32m:55s, beating the old record of 75h:17m, set by Randy Smyth in 1995. The best website for full details about this year’s Worrell 1000 is: http://www.catsailor.com
En route from a pair of Formula regattas in Europe to the US Windsurfing Nationals in Corpus Christi, Texas, Micah Buzianis stopped by the Newport Storm Fun Cup and showed why he’s one of the best Formula Racers in the world. Buzianis, of Paia, Hawaii, won three of four races during the three-day regatta, separating himself from a strong international field that included sailors from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Brazil, and Canada.
In fact, the only thing that could stop Buzianis over the weekend was a vicious cold front that brought 30-knots winds, pelting rain, and 35-degree windchills to Narragansett Bay on Saturday. Event organizer Platt Johnson, who finished third in the Formula division, tried three different course locations, in hopes of getting a race or two off, but the wind proved too much to handle. After getting too much breeze on Saturday, racers spent most of Sunday hoping for more wind, a dying westerly started out strong, but faded quickly throughout the day.
In addition to the 30-plus Formula sailors competing in the event, there was a fleet of two dozen “longboard” sailors, 15 of which were on the new Mistral Prodigy,a one-design board that represents a middle ground between the narrow longboards and the meter-wide Formula rockets. Daniel Bortsutzky of North Kingstown, R.I., won that class taking two of three races.
For complete results, http://www.islandsports.com
The organizers of the biennual Marion Bermuda race have announced some changes for the next running of the classic bluewater cruising race, set to start on June 20, 2003.
Asymmetric spinnakers that tack to the bow or to the end of a permanently mounted bowsprit are allowed.
Yachts up to 80 feet (length on deck) may enter. Previously the maximum length was 62 feet.
Competitors may use single side band radio or the internet for publicly-accessible weather and Gulf Stream data. Paid services or subscriptions remain prohibited.
The Selection committee will choose candidates for the race from a broader range of yacht types that are “fairly” handicapped under the Americap II measurement system. This may include classes of Beneteaus, J/Boats, and Jenneaus.
Doing the Newport Bermuda race? If your boat is shy on qualified Safety-at Sea personnel–30 percent of every crew must have up-to-date certification–there will be one last seminar offered in Newport on June 12, two days before the start of the race. See the Bermuda Race website for details: http://www.bermudarace.com
As of May 20, there are 197 boats entered; 143 in IMS Racer/Cruiser, 13 in IMS Racing, 29 in Americap Cruising, 2 in Americap Classic, and 10 in the Doublehanded Spinnaker class. The Onion patch series begins June 8, Bermuda race begins June 14.